Local authorities

A local authority is responsible for a range of services within a defined area, including, for example, social services, education and waste disposal. Local authorities are also in charge of authorising construction work by approving planning applications. If any questions arise during the planning of a development the local authority should be able to provide the necessary plans and information.

When speaking to colleagues about the new project, Tim heard that the plot north of George Brownís site was up for sale and there were plans to build a new estate. So, Tim arranged an appointment with the local authorities to find out whether there was any truth in this information and in which way it would affect his clientís new home.


Tim: Hello, Iíve got an appointment to talk about a site on Sheepfold Lane in Amersham.

Officer: Ah, yes. You must be, Tim Smith, is that right?

Tim: Yes, thatís right. IĎve just got a few questions about our clientís plot, or to be more precise, about the plot next to it.

Officer: Okay, have you got the site plan with you?

Tim: Yes, here it is. So this is George Brownís plot. He recently inherited it from his aunt and has decided to build a home for his family.

Officer: Well, that shouldnít be a problem. Thereís quite a slope there that youíll have to deal with, but the views from the top must be super. Iíve only ever driven up Sheepfold Lane before.

Tim: The site is wonderful. Weíre looking forward to creating something thatíll blend in to the neighbourhood, but still look interesting and, of course, meet the demands of our client and his young family. What Iím really here for, though, is the plot up here. Iíve heard itís going to be developed.

Officer: Yes, thatís right. The town is looking for an investor to purchase the site.

Tim: Thatís such a shame. Itís so nice to have a bit of green within such an urban environment.

Officer: Youíre right of course, but itís also an extremely popular area and an opportunity to provide a range of different people with a place to live. What weíre planning here is a multigenerational estate, which will offer young and old a place to live together.

Tim: That sounds interesting but what does that mean for my client. Will blocks of flats be going up there?

Officer: No, weíve limited the height of the buildings to two storeys in the south and three in the north. The plot ratio is 0.5, so itís not going to be very dense and the plan is, in fact, to offer the residents exterior space to enjoy and also use for planting vegetables.

Tim: I suppose that doesnít sound that bad. What about the distance to the plot boundary?

Officer: The development plans are in the process of being drawn up at the moment. None of the houses will be on the boundary and, if I remember correctly, your client should be fine. There's actually a little footpath running along the northern boundary of your site. You could access the house from up there.

Tim: Thatís an interesting thought. Up until now, Iíd assumed we would be putting the main entrance on Sheepfold Lane.

Officer: Oh, by the way, the estate that weíre planning also includes a childrenís daycare centre. Itíll be on the other side of the estate, but that might be something for your client to look forward to.

Tim: Yes, youíre right. We were really worried when we heard the news, but the project sounds interesting. Might I be able to have a look at the development plan?

Officer: As I already mentioned, itís still at a drafting stage, but Iíll give you a ring once thereís a more definite plan so that we can arrange a meeting. You never know, there might even be an opportunity to get involved.

Tim: Well, thank you for all the information. I look forward to hearing from you. Goodbye for now.

Listen to the conversation again. Then match the sentence beginnings with the correct endings. Note the different links and the use of commas.

a) Tim is no longer worried about the neighbouring developmentsince she has only ever driven up and not down the road.
b) The officer has never enjoyed the view from Sheepfold Lane Tim might position the entrance to his clientís house there rather than on Sheepfold Lane.
c) Due to the development of the childrenís daycare centre, it should be easy to find an investor for the new residential estate.
d) Owing to the popularity of the area, because the scheme doesnít sound as big and bad as he had originally expected.
e) Because of the footpath at the top of the plot, the clients might find the new estate helpful.

There is only a comma if the subclause is at the beginning of the sentence.

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